Looking good, feeling better! Drew Carey isn't the only season 18 Dancing With the Stars contestant to undergo a weight loss makeover: His pro partner, Cheryl Burke, is also celebrating the fact that she's shed 15 pounds. "[I] tried every diet you could think of," the 5-foot-4 dancer, 29, tells Us Weekly, six years after Internet trolls first dubbed her "fat" in 2008.
Regardless of her chosen weight loss method at the time -- typically something restrictive -- Burke admits she'd drop pounds only to regain them again a short time later. Sick of yo-yo dieting, the pro dancer hopped off the merry-go-round for good last fall and hasn't looked back.
To stay fit in the off-season, she focused on "clean" foods, cut her portions -- and as a result, dropped 15 pounds. "I feel strong," she enthuses to Us.
Choosing to limit dairy to avoid bloating and sip 96-calorie tequila and sodas instead of sugary red wine, Burke's new food staples include Greek yogurt to rev her metabolism, and berries, which Burke snacks on every four hours to keep cravings at bay. During her slimdown, Burke was careful not to deprive herself of her favorite foods, and still indulges in one cheat meal each weekend -- often a Mexican dish.
Another way Burke keeps the weight off: She works out often -- and with a buddy! Burke and DWTS alum Leah Remini tone up in 90-minute circuit training-training sessions under the guidance of pro Brendan Johnston. Says Burke of their time in the gym: "We push each other!"
CHERYL BURKE'S DAILY MEAL PLAN
Breakfast: The dancer starts her day with turkey bacon and egg whites. If she's craving a sandwich, she'll wrap 'em up -- instead of using a roll -- to save calories.
Lunch: To cut fat, Burke uses turkey bacon and no cheese in her Cobb salad. "I get the dressing on the side," she adds. "So I can put just a little on there."
Dinner: Healthy food -- fast! She gets her fiber-rich (read: superfilling) lentils, peppers and corn salad from Whole Foods. Another pick: lentil soup.